Ice on rivers breaking more quickly, animals having to relocate, trees flowering at a much more rapid pace and glaciers shrinking — just some of the dramatic effects caused because of climate change worldwide. Temperatures across the globe will continue to increase in the next few decades to come too, predict scientists, with the blame mainly being put on the greenhouse gases that are produced from human activity.
Cutting our carbon footprint will be one way to fight back against climate change, though so too will be improving the ways we look after our urban gardens. Keep reading for four techniques that you should adopt into your lives in the months ahead…
1. Be wiser with how you use water
Hot and dry summers may become expected year in, year out. Great, right? Well, yes, for any sun lovers out there, but this could have a knock-on effect for our gardens — which in turn will continue to affect our environment. So, what should you do? If you don’t already have one, get a water butt. If you do have one, add another! Catching rain water to use on your floral displays and lawn will help you minimise your mains water usage, thus helping the environment and aiding self-sufficiency.
We can experience the proportion of household water used in gardens increasing by over 30 per cent when temperatures rise. With this statistic in mind, a water butt can be an effective tool — especially with hosepipe bans becoming more regular. Another way to cut your water usage is by re-using any ‘grey water’ which has previously been used to wash dishes or have a bath.
2. Improve your garden with more plants…
In a city, a domestic garden can be compared to an air-conditioning system. Did you know that the shelter of trees and hedges can act as insulation in the winter to help bring down energy consumption and heating costs? Place your evergreen shrubs and bushes carefully around your property to reduce the speed of the air movement reaching your building. However, make sure you don’t create any unwanted wind tunnels directed towards your house.
During the summer, vegetation can offer shade and so can provide aerial cooling too. It’s predicted that If we increased our vegetated surfaces in urban areas by as little as 10% then we could help control the summer air temperatures that climate change is bringing. This would also help reduce CO2 emissions.
Air quality is improved by all plants as well, because they absorb carbon dioxide and then release oxygen. With vehicle usage ever increasing, plants are playing a vital part in offsetting some of the emissions automobiles are releasing.
3. …and by growing your own vegetables
Ambitious gardeners can replace up to 20 per cent of all purchased food through the activities they undertake in their personal outdoor spaces. This in turn reduces their carbon footprint by up to 68lbs of C02 each year. This is thanks to several factors, including the time it takes to get your food to your plate being cut considerably. It’s estimated that the average distance your food travels before it’s consumed is a staggering 1,500 miles, meaning that transportation of the goods is burning fossil fuels.
You’ll know your food is free from chemicals by growing your own vegetables too. You can avoid unnecessary packaging as well, not to mention save money when it comes to your weekly food shop.
4. Get to grips with composting
Eco-gardening is another fantastic way to take the fight to climate change. Therefore, adding compost to your soil can provide crucial nutrients and microorganisms to the earth. If you want to cut costs too, instead of buying compost, you can also use kitchen scraps, so long as it’s not meat or fish. This will also reduce the waste transported to landfill.
Composting can reduce the release of greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane. This is because they lower the necessity to use chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It also helps soils hold any carbon dioxide and improves tilth and workability of soils. However, it’s important to carefully maintain your composting or it may reverse the desired effect.